With a bang the race started. Mitch sprinted ahead of the other kids and quickly realized how weak his muscles really were. He was young and still learning about the limitations of DMD, which were always changing and always getting worse. He looked normal – and heaven knows how badly Mitch wanted to be normal and healthy – but he didn't understand until this moment how quickly his muscles would tire. 

Within a few short yards Mitch could feel the punishing effects of muscle fatigue and with each lunge forward he became weaker - he knew he wouldn't make it. Suddenly his face was overcome with grief and worry: grief because he wasn't as strong as he wanted to be and worry that he would fall and hurt himself. I'll never forget the look on my son’s face as he crossed the track lines and ran to the safe harbor of my arms.

I immediately dropped my camera to the floor and ran to my son and gave him the biggest hug between a father and son in recorded history. I then kissed his tear stained face and said, “Oh, Mitch … I love you.” I wanted him to know that my love for him was absolute and unconditional and that his mom and dad were proud of him no matter what. I took hold of Mitchell’s face that was trained on the ground and looked him in the eye and said, “Son, every time you do your best, you win.” I also told him he didn't need to run races on his feet and that was why we brought his scooter. I reminded Mitch why some people use reading glasses – to help them do what their bodies cannot – and there is nothing wrong with that. Mitch used his scooter the remainder of the event - and that made all the difference for him. The rest of the day was filled with smiles and happiness.

We were attending a Sports Day for kids with disabilities, hosted by the Jordan School District. As we participated in the remaining events we saw children with virtually every disability you could imagine. My heart went out to every child I saw. I also realized there were parents there who loved their children just as much as my wife and I loved our son – and there were probably children who, like Mitch, were a little unsure of themselves and wanted to do more than their bodies allowed. I wanted to hug every child I saw and look them in the eye and tell them how much they mattered. I wished then, as I do now, I had the power to heal broken bodies. 

After this tender moment with Mitch, my sweet son who tried his best to be like the rest, I began to see the world and my life with greater clarity. I realized anew, when it comes to raising children, their efforts are more important than their outcomes. What’s more, our response to their efforts shapes them profoundly. I don’t expect my children who with untrained hands and barely able to hold a crayon to draw a masterpiece. To the contrary, their heart-felt scribbles are greater than any piece that hangs in a museum hall. 

This moment on the track, one warm Saturday morning, I was reminded the depth and breadth of my own happiness are inextricably connected to the well-being of my children. When they are happy and well, I know no greater joy; and when they hurt or suffer, I know no greater sorrow. I was reminded that being a father I am no longer me – for I am the sum total of my family. I am we. 

Thus the safe harbor a family should be.